Dungeons & Dragons Onslaught: A board game with a lot of potential

When Dungeons & Dragons first released the trailer for their upcoming board game Onslaught, many people’s first thought was, “Are they making Warhammer now?” Rightly so, as the teaser, which you can see below, isn’t very informative outside of “these factions will fight each other”. While skeptical of WizKids’ newest collectible game, GameSpot hosted a demo from Onslaught, and we were pleasantly surprised at how friendly and engaging the game was.

What is Aggression?

Onslaught takes just D&D combat and turns it into a game, with lots of familiar Mage Knight (the original version) and Heroclix mechanics. There are several scenarios that his faction must complete. In the case of the scenario I had, the goblins needed to be killed, the other person playing needed to be defeated, and you had to get the Flametongue sword.

You’re playing against another person and monsters – which move according to your AI, which is usually pretty straightforward. While talking to WizKids Miniature Game Director Alex Davy, the game is currently for two players, but there is an opportunity for a battle royale of sorts when more factions are released.

You assemble a team and each member of your team has their own card with some Heroclix-like mechanics. Everything you need to know about the character and his abilities is written on the card. Heroclix mechanics come into play with skill or spell cooldown counters, experience tracking, and health. They look really cool, you need to interact with them during the game via dials and add some dynamics to the gameplay.

If you’ve played D&D before, then you’ll feel right at home for combat in this game – Onslaught is all combat, so that’s all you need to worry about. You’re rolling each attack with 2d20, which many D&D players would call “with advantage.” When talking to Davy, the point of playing like this is to keep the action moving.

And again, the action moves relatively fast, and characters can die in a few turns, so strategy is the name of the game. You need to get tired of the team you’ve put together, how your skills/spells work or balance the team and choosing characters for your team that

What’s in the box and the cost?

It’s coming in January 2023 and will retail for $140. Inside the box are 21 fully painted miniatures, a double-sided game board (much bigger than the playtest I got), 4d20s, 16 dial cards, 26 standard cards , 44 mini cards, 71 tokens, 14 terrain elements, a rule book, a scenario guide, and 4 plastic holders.

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The core set will contain two different factions to fight each other – Harpers and Zhentarim – and all characters have specific skills and spells for each individual character. More factions will be released in the future as WizKids plans to continually release new content for the game. It’s important to note that there are some bigger enemies to fight in the base set, including an ettin, a troll, and a young black dragon.

Expansion:

First of all, this is not Warhammer. This is not a pay-to-win scenario like most collectible games. There are no $200 game pieces you can buy that will destroy your opponents. Onslaught does not have large scale minis nor does it have blindboxes. When you buy a faction pack, you get exactly what you think you are getting. There are no surprises.

There are two Faction Packs planned for release in February 2023: Red Wizards and Many Arrows. The Many Arrows faction will specialize in controlling the movement of their enemies through slow or root spells and abilities, ensuring they stay behind to be hit with ranged attacks. Red Wizards are weak in one-on-one combat compared to other factions, but they do have the ability to summon minions to fight closely for them. Both sets will come with 6 painted figures, 6 combat cards, 2 faction dice, game sheets and rule sheet. Both sets will retail for $60 each.

From there, we were told that there were plans for free DLC content for the main box in the future – mostly in the form of new scenarios. That is, you can download scenarios or other non-physical items to use with your physical game. Additionally, there has been talk of DLC for already existing miniatures packs, so your minis can have additional use outside of your campaign – such as character cards and spells/abilities. WizKids has long plans for Onslaught, and it will begin releasing shortly after the main set is released.

Thoughts:

Onslaught is a very simplified version of D&D, removing all RPG elements, with battles being the focus. The game leans heavily towards play store tournaments – there are plans for in-store prizes that are also unique – and that’s fine. He wants to make the D&D experience fun and accessible to everyone.

The set that was sent to me was a preview set, so it was very stripped down. You only had two people on your team instead of the five you would play a full game with, and there was only one scenario. This preview set got me interested in what’s to come, but I’m still not 100% sold out, for a few reasons.

There will only be two boards to choose from for the end game, and since D&D is so dungeon-heavy, two different locations feel a little lackluster. I wish I had a better idea of ​​what the differences between the scenarios were. In my test with WizKids, there was a lot of information thrown at me, and differences in scenarios weren’t something we got into. I hope he leans more towards Betrayal At House On The Hill for his settings as there is a lot of variation between the sets. I hope it’s not just “Fight everyone and get this item” for each.

Also, at the moment it’s only two players, so if you’re in a game night situation with more than that, you’ll have a few friends sitting around watching. It’s not a bad game to watch by any means, and I’m sure you could do a little homebrewing to get more people to play – as each person only controls one character – but as of now, it’s 1v1.

Regardless, the gameplay is smooth, moves quickly, and is easy to learn, whether you’ve played D&D in the past or not. This is important, much more than the board – as it’s an easy fix, while post-launch game mechanics can be tricky. This is much more about strategy than a D&D campaign battle, which is very positive, giving D&D players a reason to try this out. It has D&D characters, marks, and rolling d20s, but that’s not D&D. It’s different, and there’s a ton of potential here. More importantly, it’s not Warhammer, and it’s not asking you to buy a bunch of stuff to win, and that’s a huge plus in my eyes.

Dungeons & Dragons: Onslaught will be released in January/February 2023.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may receive a portion of the revenue if you purchase anything featured on our site.

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